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Five Strategies For Midsize Service Firms To Break Through Revenue Plateaus
How Pro Service Firms Can Fix The ‘Drop Everything — Chase Money’ Problem
Prospect, Originate, Navigate: How To Fill Your Professional Service Pipeline
To Grow Your Mid-Size Professional Service Firm, Think Carefully About Your Promise
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 7
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 6
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 5
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 4
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 3
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 2
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 1
How Mid-Size Service Firms Can Acquire Great New Clients On LinkedIn
Five Ways The Consultative Sale Improves Profits
How To Win The Complex Service Sale Consistently
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
How To Break The Grip Of Rainmaker Culture
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
How To Know When Prospects Are Ready
How To Pull Prospects Into Conversations
Nurture Organic Relationships Online
How To Build Relationships With Jaded Prospects
Do Prospects Want To Buy Or Be Sold?
Close Deals Faster Using Proof Statements
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
Quick Or Deep Content: Which Is Better For Professional Service Firms?
Most Leads Are Not Ready To Engage – But They Will Be

MARKETING

How To Market Managed Services - Part 3
How To Market Managed Services - Part 2
How To Market Managed Services Today – Part 1
Why Service Firms Need A Multichannel Digital Marketing Strategy
Does Your Website Attract Ideal Clients?
Why Service Firms Need The Ultimate Digital Marketing Stack
The Myth Of The Time-Starved Service Buyer
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
Why You Need A Generous Brand
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
Are You Measuring Your Time Funnel?
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Five Digital Marketing KPIs
Can Service Pros Over 40 Succeed In Digital?
Do Your Users Experience Content Regret?
Content Registrations Are Not Enough
Is Your Website Open For Business
How To Build A Great Digital Marketing Plan
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
The Value Of An Idea Driven Website
A New Website Won’t Bring You New Clients
Do You “Get” Digital Marketing? – Part 2
Do You Get Digital Marketing?
Who Benefits From Your Content?
Lead Nurturing Versus Content Marketing
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Make Your Website A New Client Driver
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
How To Get The Greatest Value From Content Marketing
Why You Should Absolutely Give Away Your Best Ideas
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
How To Nurture Ideal Prospects
Quick Or Deep Content: Which Is Better For Professional Service Firms?

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TO GROW YOUR MID-SIZE PROFESSIONAL SERVICE FIRM, DEFINE AND DEFEND YOUR VALUES

HOW VALUES STIMULATE GROWTH

Originally published on Forbes.com

I’d like to tell you the story of two employees who worked for different service providers. Both organizations are well-known and I won’t reveal their names. One of these organizations is in free-fall, with more stink on their brand than they know how to handle. The other organization is thriving, even during a pandemic.

Here is my lesson learned from these two employees. Service-based organizations that clearly define, defend and live out their values put themselves in a position to grow, earning the respect and loyalty of their employees and clients. Those who don’t often reap the whirlwind. Let me explain.

Employee one, I’ll call him Jim, worked for a large energy provider. One day, Jim was sent out into the field to read meters. Jim decided to take a shortcut by jumping over people’s backyard fences. As he jumped over one such fence, he crushed a child’s little plastic picnic table. Jim then looked at the property owner and said, with a sneer, “Are you gonna file a claim about that?”

Employee two, I’ll call him Albert, worked for a major airline. One day, during the middle of the pandemic, Albert heard a female colleague trying to handle an irate passenger who was upset about flight delays. Everyone at the gate was in the same boat, facing delays that would upend their plans. But this particular passenger felt like he had a right to berate Albert’s colleague.

Albert, being the senior employee at the gate, stepped in to help and calmly repeated what his female colleague had already said — to no effect. The passenger began to curse and threatened to sue the airline. Albert promptly fired the passenger, issuing him a refund on the spot. When the passenger became even more irate and started to curse even louder, Albert told him he would never fly that airline again, that he was putting his name on an internal list and that if he didn’t leave the gate, Albert would call security to have him removed.

In case it isn’t clear, I bore witness to both of these events. Jim jumped the fence in my backyard and broke my oldest child’s picnic table and scattered, in every direction, the toys that had been on the table. Jim sneered at me, knowing that even if I did fill out the report, he would face no consequences. His organization had much bigger things to focus on, like being under federal investigation.

I saw Albert step in and defend his colleague when I was stuck at an airport in 2021. After Albert took a strong stance against the irate passenger, several of us at the gate stepped up to thank him. None of us wanted to fly with that passenger, especially given all that we had been seeing in the media.

A Case Study In Two Value Systems

So what is the connection between these two employees and the growth of mid-size service firms? After all, both of these organizations are large, not mid-size. Here is my answer after working with over 70 mid-size service firms over the last 25 years.

  • Employees live the values that are presented to them and consistently reinforced in the workplace. Those employees who interact with clients ultimately define the client experience. That experience either puts you in a position to grow or alienates your employees and clients.
  • One of the most important determinants of growth that I have seen is the articulation and vigorous defense of the values that an organization holds dear. How can I say this? Organizations that do not define and vigorously defend their values confuse their employees.

Those employees do not know if their leadership really means what they say. This absence of clarity results in an absence of conviction on the part of the employees. When they have a chance to step up and live out the values that are listed on the wall plaque in HQ, they don’t do it. It’s too much risk.

Those organizations, on the other hand, that not only tout their values but also live them out — and most importantly, empower their employees to live them out — those organizations thrive. The most frequent opportunity for an employee to live out those values comes from dealing with difficult clients.

You can probably guess which airline Albert works for. This organization has made their values a front-and-center visible manifest of their culture. They talk about why they do what they do and how much they prize their people. They say they do this because they know that happy employees make happy clients. I’ve never worked for that airline, although I’ve flown them a lot.

I was not surprised by what Albert did in that moment. I had seen more than one employee do something very similar over the 20 years or so I had been flying that airline. In fact, I would have been disappointed if Albert had NOT done what I was nearly certain he was going to do. I could predict Albert’s behavior because I not only knew the organization, I also knew their values. That’s why I keep flying them, no matter how many offers I get from competing airlines.

How Values Stimulate Growth

For any mid-size professional services firm to grow, they must achieve three things:

  • Rock-solid loyalty from team members who want to perform really well because they feel good about the company.
  • Rock-solid loyalty from repeat-business clients who want to see the company thrive because they’ve had a good client experience.
  • A reputation for excellence in the client experience and customer service, because this is what will attract even more great clients.

Nothing will achieve these objectives more effectively, in my opinion, than defining and defending your values.

About The Author

Randy Shattuck is a seasoned entrepreneur who works hand-in-hand with senior leaders of mid-size professional service firms to grow revenues, acquire clients, open new markets, increase profits and effectively position their brands.

OUR BLOG

SALES

Five Strategies For Midsize Service Firms To Break Through Revenue Plateaus
How Pro Service Firms Can Fix The ‘Drop Everything — Chase Money’ Problem
Prospect, Originate, Navigate: How To Fill Your Professional Service Pipeline
To Grow Your Mid-Size Professional Service Firm, Think Carefully About Your Promise
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 7
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 6
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 5
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 4
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 3
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 2
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 1
How Mid-Size Service Firms Can Acquire Great New Clients On LinkedIn
Five Ways The Consultative Sale Improves Profits
How To Win The Complex Service Sale Consistently
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
How To Break The Grip Of Rainmaker Culture
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
How To Know When Prospects Are Ready
How To Pull Prospects Into Conversations
Nurture Organic Relationships Online
How To Build Relationships With Jaded Prospects
Do Prospects Want To Buy Or Be Sold?
Close Deals Faster Using Proof Statements
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
Quick Or Deep Content: Which Is Better For Professional Service Firms?
Most Leads Are Not Ready To Engage – But They Will Be

MARKETING

How To Market Managed Services - Part 3
How To Market Managed Services - Part 2
How To Market Managed Services Today – Part 1
Why Service Firms Need A Multichannel Digital Marketing Strategy
Does Your Website Attract Ideal Clients?
Why Service Firms Need The Ultimate Digital Marketing Stack
The Myth Of The Time-Starved Service Buyer
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
Why You Need A Generous Brand
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
Are You Measuring Your Time Funnel?
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Five Digital Marketing KPIs
Can Service Pros Over 40 Succeed In Digital?
Do Your Users Experience Content Regret?
Content Registrations Are Not Enough
Is Your Website Open For Business
How To Build A Great Digital Marketing Plan
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
The Value Of An Idea Driven Website
A New Website Won’t Bring You New Clients
Do You “Get” Digital Marketing? – Part 2
Do You Get Digital Marketing?
Who Benefits From Your Content?
Lead Nurturing Versus Content Marketing
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Make Your Website A New Client Driver
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
How To Get The Greatest Value From Content Marketing
Why You Should Absolutely Give Away Your Best Ideas
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
How To Nurture Ideal Prospects
Quick Or Deep Content: Which Is Better For Professional Service Firms?